Fellowships

Fellowships are designed for leading members of civil society and researchers from Eastern Europe and Central Asia to conduct intensive research, writing and networking.

We bring fellows from the region to Prague, to focus on their projects in a safe space, away from the daily routine of their organisations and home countries to help them connect with other groups and individuals from across the EU.

The range of fellows and types of projects we support are diverse, including journalists, lawyers, entrepreneurs, protestors and political prisoners working on everything from articles and books to films and comic strips. We encourage fellows to take a step back from their day-to-day routine to help them re-strategise, think and plan for the future of their society.


Strategic

Fellows spend two to three months in Prague working solely on their research projects. Working in our offices, we introduce them to new contacts in Prague and across Europe and provide guidance and support.

Environment

We provide fellows with a calm, safe and secure environment in Prague, away from the pressure of day-to-day work in their own countries and organisations, to encourage strategic, long-term and visionary thinking.

Communication

Fellows use their time to work on a project which will raise awareness of their work, and advance the cause of civil society in their home country and across the wider region.


2017 Fellows

Vlada Ciobanu

Moldova

Vlada Ciobanu trains activists to run grassroots campaigns and online communications, and has five years of experience in development projects to increase public participation in the national and local political process. She has a MA degree in Global Media and Communications from Warwick University (UK), and a Bachelor’s in Political Science from the Moldova State University. She has experience in crowdfunding campaigns and is a team leader for the first online platform in Moldova which monitors the local decision-making process. She is also an established blogger.

Project: Civil society and foreign aid in Moldova – how to empower a self-sustaining civil society.

Read about Vlada’s project

Bektour Iskender

Kyrgyzstan

Bektour is the co-founder of Kloop, an independent, youth-led media organisation in Kyrgyzstan. Kloop is one of the leading independent news websites in Kyrgyzstan and runs its own journalism school to train young people to cover politics, culture and run investigations. All of its reporters are between 14-25 and Kloop places an emphasis on technology-led journalism. As a reporter, Bektour extensively covered the Ukrainian crisis in the aftermath of the Euromadian protest. In 2016, Bektour won a TED fellowship and delivered a talk at TED2016.

Project: Bektour will create an online platform for exiled media outlets. He will explain how newsrooms can work outside of countries and detail when and how independent publishers should consider setting up in exile.

Read about Bektour’s project

Rasul Jafarov

Azerbaijan

Rasul is a lawyer, former political prisoner and one of Azerbaijan’s most prominent human rights defenders. Rasul has organised a number of protests and events highlighting the lack of democracy in Azerbaijan, including the 2012 “Sing for Democracy” campaign to coincide with Azerbaijan hosting the Eurovision song contest, “Art for Democracy” and the “Expression Online Initiative”. He is the founder and chair of the Human Rights Club, an Azerbaijani group which has been denied legal registration.

Project: Rasul will begin work on memoirs from the 20 months he spent in prison between 2014-2016. He will catalogue conversations he had with fellow prisoners and explain the dynamics between prison authorities, prisoners and political prisoners inside Azerbaijan’s legal system.

Read about Rasul’s project

Valeria Korablyova

Ukraine

Dr Valeria Korablyova is a researcher who has held a number of fellowships at international institutes and universities, with her primary focus on the EuroMaidan, the EU and post-Communist transitions in Ukraine and Central & Eastern Europe. Her most recent fellowship was at the University of Warsaw (FIAL Open Society Foundations Global Dialogues Project, 2016-17) and she has also worked at the IWM in Vienna (Ukraine in European Dialogue Project, 2015-16), and Stanford University in the USA (Carnegie Research Fellowship Programme, 2014-15). She holds a PhD in Philosophy from VN Karazin Kharkiv National University and a doctoral degree from the Shevchenko National University in Kyiv. Her latest book, “Social Meanings of Ideology”, published in 2014 by Kyiv University, explores the ideological transformation of European modernity, including the rise of market rationality and emerging alternatives, looking specifically at how the Maidan uprising in Ukraine fits into these narratives.

Project: The ambiguity of nationalism in East Central Europe: right-wing international vs. post-imperial liberation

Read about Valeria’s project

Avetik Mejlumyan

Armenia

Avetik is a lecturer at Yerevan State University in the department of sociology. He has developed several academic courses, including “social technologies”, “church and social work”, “strategic planning” and “institutional social work”. He has also produced three policy reports on labour rights in Armenia and anti-corruption policy in the education sector. He holds a PhD in Social Philosophy and a Master’s degree with honours from YSU, specialising in social work.

Project: Avetik’s project will study civil society in the Czech Republic and its development since the 1990s. He hopes to draw lessons from the Czech experience which can help advance civil society in Armenia.

Read about Avetik’s project

Peter Ruzavin

Russia

Peter is a reporter for Телеканал Дождь (TV Rain), an independent Russian TV station. He hosts evening news bulletins as an anchor, is editor-in-chief of weekly political show “Et cetera with Mikhail Fishman”, and chief producer of the evening show “Here and Now”. Peter is also a special correspondent, investigating Russian politics and international relations, focusing in particular on Dagestan, Chechnya and the northern Caucasus.

Project: Peter will explore the theme of “Russkiy Mir” in countries of the former Soviet Union, studying how history, myths and legends are used in children’s schoolbooks across the region.

Read about Peter’s project

Aina Shormanbayeva

Kazakhstan

Aina is a human rights defender and lawyer in Kazakhstan. She is president of the International Legal Initiative Public Foundation, which focuses on political and civil rights, including freedom of assembly and association, freedom of movement and freedom from slavery. Another important scope of its activity is education on human rights and the development of independent civil society. She provides legal assistance to vulnerable groups including political prisoners, trafficking victims, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. Aina also studies draft legislation and advises law enforcement agencies, judges and lawyers across Central Asia on human rights issues. She has written widely about law and order in Kazakhstan.

Project: Aina is exploring the legal, technical and practical means by which the Kazakh authorities are crowding out civil society.

Read about Aina’s project